AURORA, Colo. — A Colorado company has created a disposable medical device that can – in 15 minutes – detect the presence of disease in a single drop of body fluid. “We have developed a device that can address major pandemics, like the swine flu one that’s threatening to emerge,” said Beacon Biotechnology CEO, Fred Mitchell. “It could be used at airports, border crossings and at makeshift clinics designed to quarantine people infected with the disease.”

The device is called BrightSPOT(TM), a tiny computer chip with 112 individually addressable detectors, each of which can perform a different test. When a drop of blood, urine or saliva is placed on the chip, the fluid makes its way into the detectors, which are each programmed to search for various proteins or amino acids from viruses or bacteria associated with different diseases.

Battlefield Uses? Mitchell says the BrightSPOT(TM) reader has almost unlimited uses. It could potentially be used by soldiers on the battlefield to look for biological warfare agents. It could also be used by astronauts on long space journeys to diagnose disease.

“This is not a treatment device, it’s a diagnostic,” Mitchell insisted. “We’re providing doctors with a tool to help make their job easier, faster, and more cost effective for the healthcare system.”

The BrightSPOT(TM) System is currently in pre-clinical testing at the Colorado Science + Technology Park at Fitzsimmons, in Aurora, Colo.

Beacon’s joint venture parent companies and private investors have invested about $3.5 million in the technology, according to Mitchell. Beacon recently produced a comparison of the BrightSPOT(TM) system vs. a 3-hour commercial test for HIV. The BrightSPOT(TM) performed the test in 13 minutes on a fingerstick blood drop with better sensitivity.

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